Underneath My…Gel

American Gel nails. It seems that overnight these nails have become the latest nail phenomenon in Britain. Perhaps I was just a little too slow to catch on? The possibility is highly likely.

American gel nails are those magical nails that aren’t stuck onto your nails like acrylics (very bad for your nails!). The process of applying gel nails includes painting a layer of gel over your natural nail, and when it sets it is hard as rock (probably quite bad for your nails…).

I absolutely love having gel nails. Within the space on an hour, my Vietnamese nail-whizz transforms my scruffy looking stumps into long, lady like fingers – all by gifting me some cracking nails. These nails are great, for around 10 days they have that freshly manicured look, the polish doesn’t chip and the nails retain their shape. One of my favourite features of these nails is the ease with which they open pistachios. They really are second to none!


Gel nails (needing to be re-done), before I had them taken off.

I’ve had my gel nails on for around 3 months so it’s about time I let my real nails have some down-time. Apparently nails need to ‘breathe’. I’m not sure what this means, but I’ll take your advice Miss Nail Whizz. You know best.

I’ve documented the process of having the gel nails removed, and just how unglamorous gel nails really are. The reality is rather unsightly. I won’t pretend I don’t love them, but after carefully looking at just how disgusting my nails looked mid-removal, I can see that my real nails are probably taking a bit of a beating each time I have gel nails put on.

So, now that my gel nails are off you can see just how pathetic my real nails are. Years of ripping away at them, and generally having no regard for them, certainly has taken its toll. A combination of poor nail care and gel nails has left me with wafer thin nails: not very practical for opening pistachios I tell you!

Oh what’s this? Nail strengthener? Perfect for the job I bet. Let me just pop some of this stuff on. No, no, no! I wish I hadn’t now. I used Sally Hansen’s nail strengthener and if I want to remove it, I can forget that idea. This stuff is ridiculous. Being the natural fidget that I am, I’ve picked some of the nail strengthener off – no biggie right? Wrong. This strengthener is near impossible to remove with nail polish. I’ve tried and I’ve tried but to no avail. The nail strengthener has some serious bonding power and just will not budge off the nail unless picked off, buffed off or grown off. I now have got even worse looking nails as a result of trying to strengthen them. Little ridges dance across my nail where I have been unable to remove the strengthener from the bottom half of my nail. Excellent.

So, as a few words of warning: don’t keep your gel nails on too long, you’ll end up with weak and bendy nails; and DON’T use nail strengthener unless you are 100% sure that you won’t pick it off because believe me,  only some of it will come off… the rest will just loiter until further notice.


My hands in a heated bowl of acetone. So healthy…


The gel nails mid-dissolved. Gross!


The last of the gel being buffed off. Quite terrifying


My naked nails post-gel trauma.


If you tilt your screen back, you’ll see the ridges on my thumb nail. Urgh.


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